Senior captain Oren Wilson controls the ball during East Hampton boys’ soccer 7-0 victory over Hale Ray on Sept. 9.
If the opening game is any indication, boys’ soccer at East Hampton has the makings of a team that will make a deep tournament run this fall.
Playing under a glaring sun, the Bellringers blanked visiting Hale Ray 7-0 in the season opener at East Hampton High School on Sept. 9, scoring all seven goals in the first half.
Ethan Marshall got the scoring party started when he found the back of the net less than a minute into the game. He was one of six different players that scored with Colin Marshall scoring twice, while David Castiblanco, Gavin Ledas, Brennan Johnson, and Parker Gustine each netted one.
Castiblanco scored ten minutes into the game after receiving a pass from Ephraim Butson before Ledas scored a point-blank blast eight minutes later. Johnson then nailed a deep range shot from straight away with 11:22 to play in the half and less than a minute later Gustine found the left corner of the net. [Colin] Marshall then scored the final two goals with assists from Finn Piper and Gustine.
With the comfortable lead, head coach Rocco Christiana rotated in all 20 of his players in the second half as the team played ball control for the final 40 minutes.
“I was able to see what their composure was, how they move, and how they understand the plays we’re supposed to be running,” said Christiana, who believes the team’s depth will be a key this season. “This year we have enough talent from front to back and back again. All 20 of those kids are stars.”
Johnson, Butson, and Oren Wilson are Christiana’s senior captains on the field. Johnson is a physical presence, Butson offers an abundance of speed on the outside, and Wilson is a vocal leader that controls the middle
Christiana said the three have stepped right into the leadership position and offer a variety of skills, adding, “They are three talented players that I can put anywhere.”
Manning the goal is Thomas Fenton, a junior who learned the ropes from senior captain Drew DiStefano a year ago.
Christiana called Fenton “one of the most intelligent keepers you’ll find” and a “tremendous student of the game.”
Newcomer William Nafis is a player that is primed for a potential breakout season. Nafis, a sophomore who previously played for Oakwood Academy, brings additional experience and athleticism to a roster loaded with versatility.
Christiana referred to Nafis as a “game changer” and believes he’s a perfect addition to a team that will attack from the first whistle to the final one.
“It’s insane what we have for talent this year. We can come at you from every angle, we’re coming in hot,” added Christiana, who added that the players also have the right mentality. “The kids are very respectful. If you’re going to win every game, do it with class; if you’re going to lose every game, do it with class.”
The Bellringers have back-to-back home games coming up, starting with Morgan on Friday, Sept. 23 at 3:45 p.m. On Wednesday, Sept. 28 they play their first game under the lights at EHHS, welcoming Canton at 6 p.m.
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin